Teach Me Something That is Deep In Your Bones

Life, Writing

How to read stories to a group of children.

First of all, DO NOT be afraid of them. They can detect fear like nobody’s business and if you are afraid then they will either be afraid also, or they will use that fear against you to manipulate you. Leave all fear at the door. Instead, think about what it was like to be a child. ┬áDidn’t you just not care at all about what others thought? Wasn’t it silly and fun? That is how you approach a roomful of preschool children.

Remember that, in the kid’s eyes, you are a rock star. This will boost your ego and, thus, help relieve some of the fear.

Don’t even dare think about the parents. Pretend they are not there.

OK. So now that we have the right frame of mind everything is cake. Now you can have fun. Fun is very important. If you are having fun they will have fun, too. Why is this element important? Because we are teaching kids literacy skills when we read to them. But if you tell them this the whole facade comes crumbling down. We are offering literacy skills dipped in chocolate with rainbow sprinkles. And we are offering them with song and dance. FUN. Always have fun.

It is important to come prepared. Always read the book beforehand. If not you will find yourself in the middle of a terrible, horrifying story and you will be embarrassed and parents will hate you and there goes the “fun” facade. Always be prepared.

Read stories that you enjoy. If you don’t like the story the kids won’t like the story.

Read the story in a way that is engaging. Get the kids involved in the story. Have them help you tell them the story. Use silly voices. Use sound effects.

The most important advice, though, is to be present. Don’t be off, in your mind, somewhere else. Be right there with the kids, having fun and enjoying the moment. They are the most important thing at that moment. Treat them like that. Treat them with all of the respect in the world.